Thursday, January 24, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #15

It is imperative that a preacher take care of his own things, provide for himself without being lazy to do so, not depending upon others to give him everything he needs, spending his money on nice things and begging others for necessities. Not only so, but he must provide for his own family, those of his own household. He is not to neglect this and should pursue it with great energy; for in 1 Timothy 5:8, Paul explains to him, But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

This is quite a reprimand for a young preacher. These are hard words, but they are true words. Preachers cannot be lazy. They must, first of all, take care of their own things, their own private personal affairs and their family's affairs, else they will not be equipped to serve the Lord. The Lord requires faithfulness: 1 Cor. 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. Faithfulness requires energy, renewed each day with proper physical exercise, mental preparation, and spiritual meditation. No preacher can be effective without this daily, consistent exercise. Those who will not take care of the things at home will not take care of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul's previous exhortation to Timothy was that a bishop must rule his own house well (1 Tim. 3:4).

The consequence of neglecting such a great command is devastating. As our text goes on to say, anyone who will not provide for his own house has denied the faith. He has by his witness denied the very faith that saved him. It is not that he has lost his faith, but he has denied his faith. Peter did not lose his faith, but he denied it when he denied the Lord. Later, Peter repented with many tears. The preacher, also, may repent with tears and reclaim his faith, exercise his faith, and teach his faith to others. We must all be true to our faith as stewards of it.

Young preacher, do not deny the faith by living in such a way that people cannot see your faith. If you cannot provide for your own house, then others will not see your faith but assume that you are depending upon material things rather than on your faith in Christ Jesus. Remember that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). We cannot see tomorrow, but we can believe in tomorrow, whether that tomorrow is lived here on earth or in Heaven with Jesus Christ. Our faith reminds us of that. But when we have denied the faith, we lose sight of our goal to serve Christ faithfully, and life will become dull and discouraging. Paul told the Colossians in Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. This is where our faith is, and this is where our sight should be--on heavenly things.

Young preacher, do not lose sight of the race that is set before you lest you be worse than an infidel. Keep on running the race, for it is a good race, a needed race, and a race that can be won. Remember what Paul told the Hebrews in Heb 12:1-2 1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Let all of us as God's preachers strive for this goal. It is worth the effort, the pain, the discouragements, and the glory that shall follow.

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